What shiny pink nails taught me…

I have something to admit….  I’m a nail-biter.  I’ve got a stack of nail files in my bathroom cabinet that never get used.

My nails will no sooner start growing… then I watch a scary movie, or sit through a boring talk, and all that’s left of them is a jagged mess.

I was reminded about my poor nails this week at work, when I got chatting with a lovely colleague while making a cup of tea. Looking down, I couldn’t help but notice her lovely long, shiny pink nails wrapped around her tea cup.

Before I could stop myself, I found myself commenting on her beautiful nails – and asking what it took to keep them looking so stunning.

She enlightened me on the world of acrylic nails… and then told me something that suprised me.

Apparently – underneath the shiny exterior of her perfectly shaped pink nails – her real nails were thin and brittle. Years of applying acrylics had left them in a shocking condition.  So bad in fact that she now had no choice but to continue forking out money each month for the acrylics.

You may be wondering what nails have to do with bipolar.  Well, hang in there – I promise I have a point.

My nail revelation taught me something.  You see, there’s times in life when we as mums can be like shiny pink acrylic nails.

We present with a happy face at school pick-up or work… looking, for all the world, like we are perfect mums with perfect lives. But underneath this ‘perfect’ exterior, we can be hiding our true selves: our pain, our brittleness, our troubles.

My challenge – to myself and to you – is to acknowledge that life isn’t always shiny and perfect.  To know that life is much more like my poor nails… irregularly shaped, jagged and prone to being decimated during periods of stress.

It’s when we can show our true selves to each other, that we realise that noone has a perfect life.  Nobody has everything together all of the time.  Nobody’s life is without its own troubles.

We all have things that we struggle with – whether that be a mental illness like bipolar – or something else. We should feel free to be honest about what we are going through.

Who knows what’s going on beneath the shiny exterior of those around you?

Mariska xx

Advertisements

When Depression fades… and it’s back to ‘normal, everyday life’

I’m sitting, curled up with a sneaky handful of the kid’s Easter eggs, on the couch in our family room.  For the first time in months, I’ve had the urge to write… and with the kids playing outside, I’ve actually got time to grab my laptop and start tapping away.

Only problem is… I have no idea what to write about.

After a fairly harrowing start to the year, with depression constantly nipping at my toes, I’m finally back on an even keel again.  The urge to pour out my feelings into my diary as a way to get through each day is fading.  That feeling of constant dread in the pit of my stomach is gone.  I feel like I can participate in normal life again… able to feel joy, happiness and contentment.

But writing about feeling normal doesn’t seem like an interesting topic for a blog about being a mum with a mental illness. And so, I’m sitting here – munching away on my third Easter egg  – wondering what to write about instead.

To be honest, feeling normal is probably a topic we should talk about more.

I’m sure that most of us mums have days, weeks, months or even years where life ticks along quite normally.  Times when our minds aren’t racing uncontrollably, or our stomach isn’t tied up in knots of anxiety. Periods where other mums at school pick-up – or people we meet – would have no idea of the struggles that we have faced, or those that may lie in wait, just around the corner.

For those of us who have worked hard to get back to what we see as ‘normal everyday life’ – or who work hard to have things stay that way – it’s not something that we take for granted.  Being able to participate fully in normal everyday life is a blessing. Being able to be there for our family – even on the most mundane days – is a blessing.

Sometimes it’s not until we experience a life not so ordinary, that we appreciate just how wonderful an ordinary life actually can be.

Mariska xx

Having gone through ups and downs with Bipolar, how do you feel when things seem to go back to ‘normal’?